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Falling Sign Injures Two People on Fulton Street Amid High Winds

By  Paul DeBenedetto and Jess Wisloski | November 24, 2013 12:44pm | Updated on November 25, 2013 6:52am

 A large sign fell outside a Bed-Stuy building, leaving two in serious condition, officials said.
Bed-Stuy Sign Collapse
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Two pedestrians were hospitalized after the sign from a large discount department store in Brooklyn fell from the building's facade, along with a piece of the roof, on Sunday morning as high winds blew through the city.

Employees at M&S Bargain Hunters, on the corner of Fulton Street and Bedford Avenue in Bed-Stuy, said they heard a loud noise and looked out the window to see the sign, which extends about half a block on Bedford to Brevoort Place, completely ripped down, injuring the two pedestrians. A piece of the parapet, the low wall around the edge of a roof, also came down in the collapse, a city official said later.

Firefighters who happened to be waiting at the light on Bedford and Fulton rushed into the building, witnesses said.

"I was right by the glass and I heard, 'whoomp!'" said Gregory Douglas, 41, who works security at the store. "The fireman said, 'Get out everybody, get out everybody!'"

One woman struck by the sign was bleeding in the face, and a man was bleeding in the head, Douglas said.

The victims, who were not identified, were both rushed to Kings County Hospital in serious condition after the 11 a.m. incident outside of the Fulton Street shop, an FDNY spokesman said.

By noon, firefighters were attempting to remove more precarious pieces of the building to prevent them from falling, and the NYPD had cordoned off the area surrounding the building, while directing busy Fulton Street traffic. The building's owner was issued a citation by the Environmental Control Board, for failure to maintain the building, a Buildings Department spokeswoman said, who said that a piece of the roof came down also. An emergency protective order was also issued to erect a shed for the safety of passersby, she added.

Earlier in the day, a piece of facade came off a high-profile luxury condo in the Meatpacking District, fire officials confirmed. The Copper Building, developed by FLAnk, is known for having large panels of sheet copper all over its 385 West 12th Street exterior, but it was unclear whether it was a copper panel that fell off the 12-unit building, which opened in 2010.

And just after 1 p.m., a Midtown scaffolding structure at a troubled 75-story skyscraper that is under construction was found to be unstable, the FDNY said.

The hanging scaffolding at 157 West 57th Street, or ONE57, a residential property by Extell Development which has had several crane accidents over the past year, was secured by emergency workers, the FDNY said. Crews found the scaffold swaing on cables that were unstable, and the DOB issued a citation for "failure to maintain" the site. The incident is the latest in a string of problems caused by high winds unseating equipment there, and a partial stop-work order was issued, the DOB spokeswoman said.

A wind advisory was in effect on Sunday until 6 p.m., and winds with speeds as high as 29 miles per hour were reported in the morning, with gusts up to 46 miles an hour in Brooklyn, according to the National Weather Service.